Overseas Call Centers

#1
They are an utter Joke!!.

I called LloydsTSB last night to order a new Cheque Book. I nearly had to get a English-Urdu, Urdu-English phrase book out!.

It took 15 minutes to order the blasted Cheque Book!.

Im seriously thinking of changing banks, so I can speak to somebody who can understand a good command of English!!

Im sure people have had worse experiences than me..
 
#2
I kept being asked to repeat my question (again Lloyds/tsb) to the charming young asian man, i said dont you speak english, and he hung up!!! Not very good service id say. Anyway Lloyds/TSB are ***
 
#3
Trying to find my SWIFT, IBAN, BIC codes and routing number to give to our Budget and finance department for their new digital age claim forms.

Was told by the ever so helpful call centre on the Sub-Continent that what I needed to do was tell BudFin my logon passwords to my Internet accounts so they could find out for themselves.
 
#4
I did spend rather a long time on the phone to a shopping channel talking to a asian gentleman. Good job it wasn't a free-phone number as I had to get him to repeat himself every time he said something. He ended up getting really frustrated with ME! Honestly I was like Marjorie from Fat Fighters; "No, say again", "Didn't get you", "Can you repeat that?".

He ended up letting out a massive sigh at me! He he he!
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#5
I have some experience in the setting up of offshored operations and am co-writing a book on the subject (one of those cheapo management books you can find at the airport). Anyway, here's an article I co-wrote on the subject for the Wall St Journal from the corporate point of view:

Off-shoring and Outsourcing: A Guide to Terminology
After the death of the Internet bubble and the events of September 2001, it has been imperative that financial institutions evolve to deal with the sharply declining workflow and income. No problem, management consulting companies have come out with a series of terms to help deal with these problems.
We have the word Downsizing which means to get rid of all the people that do but leaving management who are now in a quandary because they don't have anyone working for them. We are not talking about low-level staff, but the ones that are costing so much money like the IT department.
Not to worry, this leads us to the solution: the word Off-shoring which means essentially sending work to be done abroad for the price of a cleaner here. Then we have the word Upskilling which means that our offshore developer has actually provided us with cleaners and we now want skilled staff which will cost us more and take longer. Finally because the project has ran out of time and money, we have the word Descoping which means agreeing that "being taken to the cleaners" by the offshore company is now accepted with the realisation that the solution doesn't meet the original requirements.
This may seem a pessimistic view, but at the moment there are a lot of firms who have dabbled in the outsource/offshore development have had unfortunate experiences. Many prefer not to talk about it because they are under the impression that overall it is very successful, but it is just them who have failed. Perhaps there should be a special forum, an Off-shorer’s Anonymous where these people can exchange experiences. The big consulting companies who have so promoted the idea are running large offshore delivery centres themselves so maybe they are not the best people to approach for advice on this
The difference between outsourcing and off-shoring is distance. Outsourcing means bringing in external staff for a project. They may be working in house, they may be down the road or even further away. The point is that the staff are project based and can save you a bundle of money. Having temporary development staff is the best solution, but only when you have some of your own staff to help retain the product and system knowledge. The moment the work is happening outside your building, there is a problem with information transfer which has to be addressed in order for the project to succeed. This can even be a problem when the project team is split between two buildings in the same organisation. When you take major parts of the project team and place them in another country, the problems are magnified with the distance, the time and cultural differences.
Off-shoring works, however only within certain parameters. We are surrounded by examples of successful off-shoring such as the computers with an American name but it was assembled in China.
On a recent project with which we have had the pleasure of being involved, the offshore resource being provided by one of the big consulting companies produced about 46% of what was expected and only about 34% passed testing according to their own standards. In common with many outsourcing projects, we were told that the project will succeed no matter what. The business remains blissfully unaware of the problems and in the end will have no option but to accept what has been given to them. So the quality issues will be addressed by Deskilling and Outsourcing of the entire test process. If there is no effective quality management then you are free to accept whatever was produced. However, it might be advisable to take care that your CV is up to date before the business see it.
When off-shoring must work, you must expect senior staff to spend a large amount of time supervising the projects and training the staff. This is one of the major costs with off-shoring, frequently overlooked and resulting in your staff spending considerable periods of time at the delivery centre looking after the project. These costs must be factored in up front so the real costs and savings of off-shoring are visible. The delivery centre must avoid being a silo and ensure that using ongoing quality management, dashboards and related technologies, the project management is kept informed as to project progress and quality. After all, perhaps the previously mentioned cleaners’ knowledge of object orientated methodology stopped at a mop and bucket.
It should be remembered that quality certification is not a one-off process and any company that follows a methodology must do so as an ongoing process. The client shouldn’t just rely on certificates, but should validate that a quality governance is in place by installing quality gates and verifying that a correct process is in place.
Unfortunately, as the offshore staff become more skilled, they want to improve their income standard so they move around, so expect at least a 50% staff turnover over the life of a project, more if it stretches for longer than a year. Giving the offshore staff a crash course in credit risk derivatives is expensive and time consuming, particularly if it has to be repeated every six months.
Then there are communications issues. Even if the offshore staff are working on-site, straight-forward concepts may need considerable explanation. In the financial markets many concepts are deeply interrelated and it becomes very difficult to concentrate on just one aspect. People need an overview, and this generally comes with what is euphemistically referred to as Investment Banking experience. It is sad to see an institution one moment desperately looking for people with experience and then next moment handing the work off to people at some offshore centre. Yes, the organisation may have worked on say IB projects before, but how many of the staff are still there with that experience and are they all now making pre-sales presentations?
The last point is that your business processes become embedded in the program code and if you are lucky, the code may match the documentation, but it only starts this way. After successfully outsourcing and off-shoring your operation you may find that the only people who know your business processes aren't working for you.
Another issue is that of downstream costs. Projects developed in-house are generally covered by service level agreements or SLAs. People already have leaned that life can be uncomfortable if a major system goes down and there is no agreement to support it. Often code is delivered from offshore without the same assurance, the idea is that in-house technical staff will take over the support and the costs for this will be worked out later. Immediately, we see why someone who is just shipping you code can save significant amounts of money. Better add the cost of the SLA up front, and don’t be surprised if you are charged more for supporting somebody else’s code.
One solution here is to run the offshore delivery centre yourself. In such a case, you are responsible for ensuring that the right level of staff are employed and that employee turnover is minimised. It has the advantage in that the know-how is at least kept inside your organisation; however you now have a management chain spanning continents and cultures. It still may be an issue the knowledge behind your businesses process is now offshore.
At this point it becomes advisable to close up shop and move offshore yourself to keep control of the process.
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#6
Judge_John said:
Im seriously thinking of changing banks, so I can speak to somebody who can understand a good command of English!!
Theres one bank just switched its call centres back to Blighty for this reason, but I cant remember who it is?

My favourite was a 118 Directory Enquiries call.

"Classified advertising on the London Evening Standard please"

"Which town is that in please?"

"Scunthorpe pet. Try Scunthorpe"
 
#7
[quoteMy favourite was a 118 Directory Enquiries call.

"Classified advertising on the London Evening Standard please"

"Which town is that in please?"

"Scunthorpe pet. Try Scunthorpe"[/quote]

A funny example I came across was actually face to face with a Polish Shop assistant in an Off Licence in Ireland:

"Do you sell Gin"

"Dose she work here, maybe she works in the evenings"!!!!!!!!

I had to walk out as I could not stop laughing...
 
#8
Back to banks

First Direct - 18 years with them and never a single cause for complaint.

Mind you, the call centre is in Leeds. Might be difficult for some.
 
#9
I'm not sure it is just the overseas call centres. I once phoned Rail Enquiries (or whatever it's called) .... used to be 0845 48 49 50 and spoke to the advisor, who had an English accent. I asked if there was a train leaving my nearest station at around 11.00 am. She gave me the details for the train departing at 11.59!!! :? So I questioned whether there was a 10.59 departure. Oh yes. :roll:
 
#10
Outsourcing industry "in joke"

"Hello this is the Indesit service centre, how may I help you today"

"Oh hello - my washer has broken down"

"Oh dear - I'm so sorry - perhaps they will feel better tomorrow - is there anything else I can help with?"
 
#11
Looking for a new Bank?

I recommend Natwest - UK callcentres and a direct line to your local branch.

Like what banking used to be before they decided to make billions out of our gullibility.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#12
All Highstreet banks are theiving scum. I've worked for several of them and they're all stealing money from you one way or another. Some are just better at hiding it than others.
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#13
I've just been through the edifying process of transferring a BT Broadband account between different addresses. Interestingly, the 'sales' call centre was clearly UK based and was a reasonably slick operation - not surprisingly I suppose as their purpose was to attempt to empty my wallet - whereas the technical assistance call centre was on the sub-continent. This was somewhat more of a lottery. I needed to make 8 'technical' calls, of which 6 went reasonably well whilst two featured individuals (male) who, try as I might, I could not understand at all. Of the 6 effective calls, the best three were with female operators who spoke good clear English (and two of whom were up for some jolly banter) whereas of the three blokes I spoke with, two had some difficulty in making themselves understood.

Obviously not a scientific sample, or anything like it, but interesting.

BTW, as for Nat West dooing banking in the old way - cobblers! Yes, you can call your own branch, but there's fcuk all they can do other than give you the numbers for the national or regional call centres which deal with whatever you're calling about. The lovely Mrs cpunk banks with Coutts, who do offer a 'traditional' service, but she pays through the nose for it.
 
#15
I buy a lot of logistics support every year. I will not trade with any supplier who has their service or support center abroad. It's got me into a bit of bother with some organisations, but what the heck (even got accused of being racist once !).
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#16
Mover said:
I buy a lot of logistics support every year. I will not trade with any supplier who has their service or support center abroad. It's got me into a bit of bother with some organisations, but what the heck (even got accused of being racist once !).
You can actually help the system by putting in place service level agreements dealing with quality etc so foreign support desks to your standards or else you penalise the firms... Just another way of approaching the same problem.
 
#17
bovvyblonde said:
I'm not sure it is just the overseas call centres. I once phoned Rail Enquiries (or whatever it's called) .... used to be 0845 48 49 50 and spoke to the advisor, who had an English accent. I asked if there was a train leaving my nearest station at around 11.00 am. She gave me the details for the train departing at 11.59!!! :? So I questioned whether there was a 10.59 departure. Oh yes. :roll:
Anytime Ive ever called National Rail it's been Welsh accents. Yes the number is still the same.

I wanted to travel to Newport in Essex once, I called for times and the advisor said are you sure it's not Newport in Gwent, I said why would I be asking you for times from Liverpool Street Station then!!!!
 
#18
Judge_John said:
They are an utter Joke!!.

I called LloydsTSB last night to order a new Cheque Book. I nearly had to get a English-Urdu, Urdu-English phrase book out!.

It took 15 minutes to order the blasted Cheque Book!.

Im seriously thinking of changing banks, so I can speak to somebody who can understand a good command of English!!

Im sure people have had worse experiences than me..
Judge John,

Try the Co-op, banked with them for years, and have had no problems where ever in the world I've need their services.

Their call centre is seemingly in the Merseyside area (unless Indian call centres are using Thomas the Tank Engine videos as training aides) so the grasp of English is fairly good.

One of the rare instances I'm comfortable discussing my finances with a scouser :wink:
 
A

armadillo

Guest
#19
Overseas call centres are they covered by the data protection act? As a soldier I have to give my profession to open the account it has my address. So thets say for example a call centre in India has a person working there with al qaueda tendencies, can that operator store the information on that soldier which can be used at a later date. What if that person sells that information on to a third party of criminal or terrorist mind that information. scary thought.

Nuff said " conspiracy theory" rubbish
 

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